875th Christmas Surprise

December 6, 2006--Posted at 6:00 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, AR--Back in September Region 8 said goodbye to the men and women of the 875th Engineer Battalion as they deployed to Iraq for 16-18 months. Now some of them will be home for the holidays.

Every soldier in the 875th Engineer Battalion is entitled to a 15 day leave during their deployment overseas. Some are lucky enough to be home at Christmas. While members of the 875th have only been gone for two months, that's two months too long for most families.

"It's been tough. We have two teenagers and teenagers are trying, but we talk every night so anything I need I talk with him and discuss, but I sure would like him home," said Gayla Roe of her husband First Sergeant Tony Roe.

First Sergeant Tony Roe is stationed in Iraq with the rest of the 875th Engineer Battalion. To make his deployment easier his family uses a webcam to communicate while he is overseas. However, it doesn't compare to the close personal touch they will soon enjoy.

"He has been gone since September. He is coming home at Christmas; we will have him for 15 days, 15 wonderful days. Then he will go back and finish his tour of duty," said Gayla Roe.

The family hopes to generate enough memories during his leave to last them over the next ten months. In order to do that Tony's schedule is already packed full.

"Of course family is going to be there and want to gather with him. We are going to take a little time for me and him. He has been gone for a couple months and will be going back for several. He is going to take some time for him. Our daughter, our oldest daughter, just found out we are going to have a Grandbaby, so I am sure he is going to want to spend time with her," said Gayla Roe.

Over the next year every member of the 875th will receive their two weeks leave. For the Roe family, they're just happy their loved one will be home this season in a time for families.

"This is what I want for Christmas. He keeps asking what I want for Christmas and every time I tell him, I want you home. Once he gets home my Christmas will be completed I will have what I want," said Gayla Roe.

Every soldier in the 875th submitted dates they hoped to get for their leave. Most put in for March, April, and May, which is in the middle of their deployment. When Christmas was available First Sergeant Roe jumped at the opportunity.

He is expected to leave Iraq on the 23rd and hopefully make it back to the states for Christmas day.